“The Picture Book” by William Brymner  is a wonderful and delicate portrait of two girls looking at a picture book. The painting is a contrast of warm grey, blacks, and whites. The whites and blacks are used in the center (to draw attention to the girls and where the picture book is located) while the warm grey colors surround the objects of our attention.
Basic Facts for Preschool and Kindergarten
William Brymner (1855-1925) was born in Scotland (show the children on a map or on a globe where Scotland is located) and lived in Canada (again show the children where Canada is located.)
William went to Paris, France (help the children locate France on the map/globe) in 1878 to study art. When he returned to Canada, he became a teacher at the Art Association of Montreal (the present Museum of Fine Arts). William Brymner is well known as a dedicated teacher and landscape artist.
Introduce the artist and painting by sharing a favorite picture book with your children. “I’ll Always Love You” by Peony Lewis (author) and Penny Ives (Illustrator) is one of our favorite picture books (even toddlers will delight in the illustrations and story). Ask the children if they enjoyed the book and the illustrations. Explain to the children that not everyone will like the same book or the same painting. To be respectful to the author and artist though, we must always be polite when “declining.”
Show the children “The Picture Book.” Ask the children what they notice first when they look at the painting? (what colors do they notice?; what objects in the picture do they notice first?) Explain to the children that “The Picture Book” is a painting that uses contrasting colors to draw our eyes to the center of the picture (to the girls and to the picture book they are looking at).
Preschool and Contrasting Colors: To help the children understand contrasting colors, we used black and white as they are “opposites.” While the colors may be contrasting, they can also be used together (and often artists do) as in “The Picture Book” by William Brymner. *note to teachers – black and white are used even though they are not “colors.” If desired, the absence or presence of light can be expanded upon using prisms/light/shadows for a science experiment.
Materials needed: Black and white construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, white and black crayons, and a string/putty for hanging or display.
We did the black/white hand wreath in small groups. Have the children trace their non-dominant hand on either black or white paper with the crayons. Glue all the white hands together in a small circular shape. Next, have the children glue the black hand prints around the center white ones. The children can use a string for hanging or poster putty to display their wreath, if desired.
My Picture Book – My Picture Book
In “The Picture Book” by William Brymner, the two girls seem to enjoy looking at the book and the illustrations. Print the file (linked above) for each of your children. The children could use the printable in several ways, but here are a few suggestions:
1) The children can cut contrasting color pictures from an old magazines. Have the children look for greys, blacks, and whites to use in their own picture book.
2) The children could draw any picture(s) they desire for creation of their picture book. Bind all the student’s pictures together to make a class “picture book” to share.
3) Have the children draw geometric shapes or lines with contrasting colors.
Introducing children to artists and artworks will help “plant the seeds” for a love of art that will extend beyond their early years!